My buddy Scott sent me this on Facebook the other day. If you’re a Mac user, bookmark this post and refer back to it next time your Mac starts acting funny. This could save you a trip to the service department at the Apple Store, and it might even prevent unnecessary service costs. Enjoy!

I had something interesting happen to me right before a show the other night and thought it might be something you could pass on to your loyal readers.

Something confused the FW bus on the 24″ iMac I use to run backing tracks for theatrical productions (a long Logic session running solely audio, no VI’s or plugs). Basically the iMac couldn’t ‘see’ the audio interface or external HD, but was still providing power to the devices. We noticed the problem at the 2-minute call (!) and I did a quick diagnosis and narrowed it down to the FW bus.

Something similar happened to me in my home setup up in Fort Wayne one night after an inadvertent hot-swap snafu. I was able to correct the issue by doing a hard reset of the PRAM and NVRAM. I would have done it immediately at the show but couldn’t remember the keystroke sequence and didn’t have time to get online and find out (we played Act I sans tracks). At intermission I did a quick Google and found the article on Apple support:

The steps above immediately fixed the problem. No clue what caused it – we’re on UPS’s and have pretty clean power, so I’m thinking someone popped a cable or something ). This is a handy trick for those times that a FW bus becomes ‘confused’ or scrambled. It can save a trip to the Apple Store and somebody saying you need a new logic board when you don’t. And with all the FW drives & interfaces out there it’s probably happening to others.

Be sure to thank Scott for this great little pearl of wisdom by leaving a comment. 🙂

[Photo by kyz]

  • Randall

    I could, but this may be fairly difficult, as my iMac came with Snow Leopard. I do have a disk for Leopard though, but it’s registered to someone else. Although, if someone had this problem in May ’09 (as in the link I posted), the problem existed before Snow Leopard hit the market. I imagine if all PT 8 users had this problem, I would see more things addressing it. So I’m not sure if it’s a PT 8 problem, or some weird Mac thing.

  • Randall

    I hope this helps my problem. For some reason, whenever I do a bounce it usually fails at least once. Sometimes it starts off with static and distortion right away, other times it starts fine and then goes to static and distortion about five seconds into the bounce. Often, the first bounce fails and the next is totally fine. Lately, it’s started just shutting down Pro Tools, leaving broken (L/R) wav. files wherever I’m trying to bounce too. It’s starting to become a pain in my ass… I had to try 15 times today to get a single, usable bounce.

    I’m using Pro Tools 8.0.3 M-Powered with a M-Audio Project Mix I/O on a 3.06 21.5″ iMac, in case anyone can shoot me a few tips on this matter.

    • What version of the OS are you running?

      • Randall

        I am running 10.6.2. I have searched this problem on and the first result was a post on Digi’s forum in early 2009 explaining the very same problem. Here’s the link:

        The odd thing, in my opinion, is that it seems to be getting for extreme, and noticeably more frequent. I have played with buffer sizes and various other settings… but with no success. I hope somebody can help me track this problem down. I also installed Pro Tools 8 on a fresh iMac, so there was no upgrade as with the case in the link.

        • Perhaps you could jump back to Leopard instead of Snow Leopard?

  • Resetting PRAM is always the easiest fix. Along with resetting NVRAM, there are a couple of cool options to set. For those who really want to know what’s going on under the hood.

    If my machine ever kernel panics’, then I want to know what was the cause. I hate the new panic screen and would like to see verbose output. I can do that by entering the following in the terminal:

    sudo nvram boot-args=”0x144″

    also, say I want to watch the system boot up in verbose mode every time so I can watch extensions load or errors initializing hardware. I can do that by adding -v in nvram:

    sudo nvram boot-args=”-v”

    combine the two to always be in the know

    sudo nvram boot-args=0x144 -v”


    • Kevin Blaine

      Have you had frequent kernal panics with your audio software/hardware? I get kernal panics at least once a month or so when working with ProTools, and when I check my panic logs, it always has to do with a digidesign firmware or driver.

      Anyone else ever have this issue?